Boxing Federation, Olympic Committee Disagree over List of Boxers

The Uganda Boxing Federation and the National Olympic Committee have disagreed over the allocation of slots for boxers who will take part in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games qualifiers.

The disagreement comes a few days after the Uganda Olympic Committee released a list of nine athletes that will start late preparations for the 2024 Paris Olympics due next month in Dakar, Senegal.

The list notably reintroduces former accomplished pugilists, including Shadir Musa Bwogi and his counterpart David Semujju. Both athletes had competed in the previous Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020, a decision that the present Boxing Federation President, Moses Muhangi, said he is uncomfortable with.

The two pugilists had recently severed ties with the Uganda Boxing Federation, expressing their discontent with what they perceived as inequitable contracts linked to participation in the Boxing Champions League and they ventured into Professional Boxing.

However, according to the stipulated regulations, their eligibility to represent the national team remains intact, given that they haven’t taken part in more than ten professional bouts.

In a letter dated 21st August 2023 signed by the UOC General Secretary, the Uganda Olympic Committee said that UBF failed to submit the relevant documents of some boxers on the list that it had submitted to UOC to take part in the qualifiers.

“As at the deadline of 28 July 2023, the UOC entered the names of the Athletes and Officials with complete information in our possession before the System could close.” reads part of the letter.

“The list submitted by the UOC includes Athletes from the long list you furnished us with, athletes that either participated in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and or are beneficiaries of the Olympic Scholarship, a decision that we made per the IOC mandate given to the UOC and as we indicated in our meeting of 1 July 2023 held at the National Council of Sports (NCS),” reads another part of the letter.

It should be noted that in June, the International Olympic Committee rescinded its recognition of the International Boxing Association (IBA). Consequently, the IOC decided to divest the IBA of its role in organizing Boxing at the Olympic Games, including the qualifiers, boxing maintained its place within the sports program of the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris 2024.

In the wake of the disagreement, various National Olympic Committees assumed responsibility for nurturing the boxers’ talents within their respective nations, thereby shaping the contenders for the qualifiers and, eventually, the grand event itself.

Amid all these, the Uganda Olympic Committee agreed with the Uganda Boxing Federation that UOC would only come in where the National Federation (UBF) has not recommended athletes for participation in the Olympic Qualifiers.

However, in his response dated 23rd August 2023, Muhangi refuted the claims. He said that the Olympic Committee chose to disregard the origin list submitted by UBF and opted for the boxers they were interested in.

“There is no record of you asking us for missing information either by email or hard copy, given that we last sent the long list on the 21st of July 2023 which was exactly seven days before the team registration deadline of 28th July 2023.”

“However, you went ahead and registered boxers like Mr. Semujju David, Mr. Shadir Musa Bwogi, etc., whose names were never part of the long list that we provided,” reads part of Muhangi’s response.

According to Muhangi, while the Federation had indeed nominated a second roster of boxers, the UOC reciprocated with a list of seven pugilists who had signaled an interest in the Olympic qualifiers but were never part of the Uganda Boxing Federation’s framework.

Muhangi said that the Federation had agreed to grant the athletes an opportunity through a trial mechanism, which they were required to pass to secure inclusion.

However, the funds to facilitate these trials were never allocated to the Uganda Boxing Federation.

Muhangi further argues that, after failing to carry out trials, the Olympic committee went ahead to conclude those boxers whom the Boxing Federation had no clue about since they were not in their setup.

He said that this forced the Federation to convene an extraordinary meeting on 22nd August 2022 and decided to excuse themselves from the process and allow the Olympic committee to proceed with the preparation and presentation of the team because the Boxing Federation is not comfortable to prevail over a team that was not selected according to their approved national team selection policy.

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